Locals anxiously await sewer and water voting results



Residents of Los Osos and Cambria are looking forward to the end of the complicated voting process under Proposition 218, which will determine the size of their bills for water and sewer services.

Officials from the SLO County Clerk-Recorder's office are expected to count mail-in ballots from Los Osos homeowners on Oct. 25, with results anticipated later that day or on Oct. 26. Homeowners in much of the town were asked to vote yes or no on a new sewer assessment of around $25,000 per single-family home.

Opponents and proponents of the controversial sewer project voiced their opinions right up to the end of the official Proposition 218 protest hearing held by the county Board of Supervisors on Oct. 23.

Cambria's turn for an official protest hearing is due Oct. 25, beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Cambria Veterans Hall. Under Proposition 218, ratepayers are given a say in the Cambria Community Services District's proposal for hefty rate hikes to pay for improvements to the town's water and sewage systems.

To reject the new fees, protest votes must be turned in by at least 50 percent plus one of the town's ratepayers. A Cambria citizens group has been distributing and collecting protest forms for six weeks, aiming to become one of the only areas in California to see a successful protest of water and sewer rates under Proposition 218.

The measure, written by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and passed by California voters in 1996, is known as the Right to Vote on Taxes Act. A state Supreme Court decision last year established that the voting right extends to monthly water and sewer rates, in addition to property tax assessments.

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